Friday, October 17

Unheard Voices

This evening Westbourne Studios played host to a few readings of plays written by young Muslims aged between 16-25 as part of a initiative run by the Royal Court Theatre.

As well as being written by Muslims, the plays seemed to be for Muslims too. For God's Sake (by Siama Shah, 16!) discussed the identity issues between two young British born Pakistanis, The Next Step (by Hassan Minas) touched on the different Muslims communities, Arab in the West (by Osamah Al-Tamimy) was focussing on the life of an new Arab immigrant to Britain, while Shades (by Alia Bano) tackled the topic of marriage and relationships between British Muslims. Of course I had just the extract to go on, so the full plays may really be about other things.

Although they were just readings, they were as enjoyable, engaging and meaningful as any full production. The lack of props didn't seem to hinder the acting, some of which was really good. And even though they were very short, they provoked enough discussion and debate afterwards. Unfortunately the Q&A session with the actors and writers wasn't as fulfilling as I hoped it would be, mainly due to a meek audience. Still I had my question about crossing lines of offence answered adequately by Shah.

In fact the most disappointing parts of the extracts were their lengths - it was all over so quickly, leaving most of the audience gagging for more. When I asked about the future of the performances, we were told that that would only happen with demand (and as a consequence, funding), but from what I saw tonight any full production at the Royal Court would definitely be something I'd be interested in.